Bloomberg reports that Amazon has purchased 1,000 self-driving truck systems from the self-driving truck technology startup Plus.ai.
As indicated by the documents on the 21st, self-driving truck technology startup Plus.ai develops AI software for trucks, and has reached an agreement with Amazon in allowing the latter to purchase its stocks. Amazon now has the rights to purchase up to 420,702,410 preferred stocks of Plus.ai at an approximate price of US$0.47/share, which equals 20% of the company shares. All aforementioned shares purchased is the equivalent of an investment of almost US$200 million.
Working with Plus.ai is the latest strategy of Amazon in the self-driving field. The latter agreed on acquiring the self-driving taxi company Zoox at over US$1 billion in 2020, and released its own self-driving taxi in the same year.
Amazon, through the technology of Plus.ai, will be able to mitigate the severe national labor shortages in the truck industry, while alleviating delivery errors and growing transportation costs.
As the first product of the startup, PlusDrive operates similar to the full self-driving software of Tesla, and requires a licensed driver to pay attention to the road status ahead in case the system malfunctions or requires human intervention. David Liu, the CEO of Plus.ai, commented that the company hopes to launch products that do not require drivers by the end of 2024.
Founded in 2016 and headquartered in California, Plus.ai announced its listing through SPAC during May, and is estimated at a market value of US$3.3 billion. The company completed a long range transportation through a semi-autonomous truck from Tulare of California to Pennsylvania in 2019 and established a joint venture with the FAW Group in the same year. After its mass production in 2021, J7L3 of the FAW Group will be available on the dominant Full Truck Alliance, and will provide services for 10 million truck drivers and 5 million shippers.
Plus.ai will provide its self-driving truck system for the US and China starting from this year, as well as provide its system for S.F. Holding, allowing semi-autonomous trucks to drive for more than 900 miles everyday.
(News source: Leiphone; cover photo source: Plus.ai)